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6 weeks, 6 issues

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21 August 2020

Looking for answers to the big questions about Victoria’s future, post COVID-19?

Hear from experts directly involved in planning our recovery in this online talk series moderated by Kate Torney.

About 6 weeks, 6 issues

The COVID-19 crisis has left us in in a climate of uncertainty. As Melbourne endures its second lockdown and as the country tries to establish a new normal, what are the key issues we need to focus on for our recovery?

Our series 6 weeks, 6 issues series invites top policy experts and decision-makers leading the planning for Victoria’s recovery to speak about the big issues we face in health, education, work and the economy, as we move forward. 

Kate Torney (moderator) was CEO at State Library Victoria from 2015 to 2021. Prior to this, she spent six years as the Director of News at ABC, capping off a 20-year career there. A testament to her passion for creativity and knowledge, Kate serves on the boards of Circus Oz, The Conversation and the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas. In 2020, she was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to broadcast media and to the cultural sector.

Watch episode six: The future of Melbourne

Melbourne is the epicentre of Australia’s second wave of COVID-19. The impact of Stage Four restrictions on businesses, institutions and individuals has been profound. How will Melbourne emerge from this period and what will the city look like once it does?

About the speakers

Justin Hanney is currently CEO of City of Melbourne. He was previously Head of the Employment, Investment and Trade Group within the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, with oversight of key entities including Visit Victoria, Development Victoria, Trade and Investment Victoria and Small Business Victoria. Prior to that, Justin was CEO at the City of Yarra and the City of Wangaratta, the CEO of statutory body Regional Development Victoria and Deputy Secretary at the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Watch episode five: The future of schools

Schools have been caught in the crossfire of the COVID-19 response, with start-stop shifts to remote learning as the pandemic has evolved. Just how disruptive will 2020 be for primary and secondary students in the long term? What benefits have come from the remote learning experience and how will our education system deliver the skills students need in a post-pandemic world?

About the speakers

Steve Cook is the Foundation Principal of Albert Park College. He has led the development of two inner-city secondary schools in Melbourne, Victoria, including the Bayview Street Campus of Williamstown High School, which was the first 5-star green school built in Victoria. In 2017 Steve was awarded the Victorian Education Excellence Award for Outstanding Secondary Principal and the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education.

Hayley McQuire is a proud Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman from regional Australia. She is the co-founder and National Coordinator of the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition – Australia's first Indigenous youth-led organisation solely committed to education. Her writings on social justice and equitable education have been published in The Guardian, New Matilda and Croakey. Hayley has worked with national education coalitions in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Katherine Whetton is the Deputy Secretary, Policy, Strategy and Performance (PSP) in the Department of Education Training. Prior to that, Katherine worked at the Department of Premier and Cabinet for more than ten years, most recently as Executive Director, Economic Strategy and Director, Health and Human Services. 

Watch episode four: The future of the economy

The economic consequences of COVID-19 have been acute, and interim support measures like JobKeeper and JobSeeker have been applied to prevent economic collapse.

Rapidly deployed stimulus programs have been the focus of much debate, but what will direct our medium and long-term trajectory out of the pandemic? With Australia now in its deepest recession since the second world war, how do we begin a sustainable economic recovery and what will our economy look like on the other side?

About the speakers

George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with more than three decades’ experience in the media, including 11 years in the federal parliamentary press gallery. He is the author of five books, including The Australian Moment, which formed the basis for his three-part ABC documentary series, Making Australia Great. George also wrote and presented the ABC documentary tribute to former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Easy. ​

Michael Brennan is Chair of the Productivity Commission. Previously Michael was Deputy Secretary, Fiscal Group, in the Federal Treasury, and prior to that Deputy Secretary, Economic in the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance. Michael has worked as an Associate Director in the economics and policy practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as a senior adviser to Treasurers and Ministers for Finance at the State and Federal level. He holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from ANU. In addition to his role of Chair, Michael is currently working on the Expenditure on Children in the Northern Territory study.

Melinda Cilento is CEO of CEDA, as well as a non-executive director of Australian Unity and Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia. Melinda is also a member of the Parliamentary Budget Office panel of expert advisors. She was previously a non-executive director of Woodside Petroleum, a Commissioner with the Productivity Commission and Deputy CEO and Chief Economist with the Business Council of Australia. Melinda holds a Masters of Economics from ANU, and Bachelor of Economics (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Flinders University, SA. She is a graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course.

Watch episode three: The future of tertiary education

The pandemic has been disastrous for Australian universities – huge revenue reductions and no access to JobKeeper support for staff has led to thousands of jobs lost, course cancellations and campus closures. As the sector remakes itself in this new environment, what does this mean for Australia’s future as a clever country?

Please note: this video has been edited due to technical issues during the recording.

About the speakers

John Dewar AO is Vice-Chancellor and President of La Trobe University. He is an internationally known family law researcher and graduate of the University of Oxford and has taught at the Universities of Lancaster and Warwick. Professor Dewar held leadership positions at Griffith University and the University of Melbourne and is Deputy Chair of Universities Australia. In 2020 Professor Dewar was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to education, and to professional organisations.

Andrew Norton Andrew Norton is Professor in the Practice of Higher Education Policy at the Centre for Social Research and Methods at the Australian National University. He was previously the Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute.

Dr Katie Allen MP is the Federal member for Higgins, elected in 2019. Katie served as a paediatrician and medical researcher at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne for over 25 years. She was Director of the Population Health Research Theme at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and was a professor at both the University of Melbourne and Manchester. Dr Allen has published more than 350 peer-reviewed publications. ​

Watch episode two: The future of work

As the pandemic has changed how we work – and the job market – in ways that were unimaginable just six months ago, we explore what the future of work might look like in the wake of COVID-19.

Episode 2: The future of work

About the speakers

Penelope McKay is currently Associate Secretary of the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR), while her substantive position is Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services at DJPR. Her areas of expertise include economic reform, regulation, government budget processes and organisational culture. She has Law (Hons) and Arts (Hons) Degrees from the University of Melbourne, a Masters of Law from the Australian National University and an MBA from the Melbourne Business School.

Peter Wheeler is a Partner in PwC’s consulting business and leads its national People and Business group. He has led numerous strategic change programs relating to business transformation, customer centricity and future ways of working, with clients including the Victorian Government, Telstra, Australia Post, CGU, Worley Parsons, NAB and RMIT. 

Watch episode one: The new normal, the path towards recovery

A discussion on the mechanics of managing a pandemic, what this new reality means for all of us, how to manage huge volumes of information in a rapidly changing environment and how the next few months might look.

Episode 1: The new normal

About the speakers

Nicole Brady is one of the Deputy Public Health Commanders working to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, within the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to this role she led the establishment of Safer Care Victoria, the agency responsible for supporting quality and safety within Victorian hospitals. Previous roles include political adviser, senior journalist and commentator. She has a Master of Public Health.

Dr Amanda Rojek is currently seconded to the DHHS incident command team. She is an emergency medicine doctor and has a PhD in outbreak response research from the University of Oxford where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She has frontline experience of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and has worked in other epidemic-prone settings internationally.

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